Sinharaja Forest Reserve Facts

Sinharaja Forest Reserve Facts
The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a 6,092 hectare national park located in Sri Lanka. The Sinharaja Forest is one of Sri Lanka's last remaining undisturbed rainforest, located in the wet zone of the island and only accessible by foot. An additional 2,772 hectares is considered Proposed Forest Reserve. There are 830 endemic species in Sri Lanka, and many of these can be found in Sinharaja Forest Reserve. Sinharaja is translated to mean lion (Sinha) and king (raja), a name chosen because of a legend involving a princess and lion king. The forest was originally declared a royal reserve and in 1977 all logging was halted and the rainforest gained protection to preserve its ecosystem.
Interesting Sinharaja Forest Reserve Facts:
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is considered to be an internationally important region of great biodiversity.
In 1978 Sinharaja Forest Reserve was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
In 1998 UNESCO designated Sinharaja Forest Reserve a World Heritage Site.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is under consideration to be names one the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is made up of ridges in east-west direction and bordered by rivers.
The highest peak in Sinharaja Forest Reserve is Hinipitigala at a height of 1171 meters.
When selective logging took place in the 1800s native hardwood trees were replaced with mahogany but this was not a tree natural to the region.
The roads originally built for logging purposes were allowed to grow over and are no longer there, making the reserve only accessible by foot.
A total of 22 villages exist in the region surrounding Sinharaja Forest Reserve. Dead wood and leaves are allowed to be removed from the reserve for use as fuel and for construction purposes. The locals also use plants for medicinal purposes.
Although the reserve has legal protection, there are still illegal poachers and illegal gem miners.
The canopy trees of Sinharaja Forest Reserve reach heights of more than 45 meters.
The majority of sub canopy trees in the reserve are considered endangered or they are very rare.
Of the 217 tree and woody climber species in Sri Lankan rainforests, over 65% can be found in Sinharaja.
Sinharaja's largest carnivore is the leopard. Other cats include the fishing cat and rusty spotted cat. All are very rarely seen.
Mammals that can be found in Sinharaja Forest reserve include wild boars, barking deer, flame-striped squirrels, dusky-striped jungle squirrels, western giant squirrels, pangolins, mongoose, porcupines, langurs, and civets, among many others.
There are 45 reptile species in Sinharaja Forest Reserve including 21 that are endemic. Two venomous snakes in Sinharaja include the hump-nosed viper and the green pit viper.
Of the 160 bird species recorded in Sinharaja, 18 of the 20 endemic to Sri Lanka are found in the forest. Some of these include the red-faced malkoha, and the Sri Lanka blue magpie.
Leeches are extremely common in Sinharaja and at one time were considered the cause of more deaths to explorers than all other animals combined. Nowadays guides carry anti-leech preparations to keep tourists protected.

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